Why Benfica star Andre Almeida would be a smart fit for West Ham
After a summer of heavy investment, West Ham are expected to challenge for a top-six finish in the Premier League this season. However, the east Londoners haven’t had the start they would have liked of, managing just four points in the first three games of the new season.
The 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Manchester City was enough to expose West Ham’s defensive frailties.
It was a shocking performance from Manuel Pellegrini’s side, who were simply outplayed by City in front of their own fans. One player that struggled massively that day was Ryan Fredericks.
Fredericks, 26, had a forgettable afternoon against City, with Raheem Sterling tormenting him throughout the entire game. He also had a poor outing in the 3-1 victory over Watford last weekend.
The former Fulham man has been defensively all over the place in the first three games and looks like he needs real competition at right-back.
Pablo Zabaleta is expected to not play much due to his advancing years, so apparently the Argentinean won’t be challenging Fredericks for a place in the first team. With that in mind, Manuel Pellegrini must prioritise signing a new right-back in the next transfer window.
Back in May, a report from the Express had claimed that West Ham were interested in signing Benfica full-back, Andre Almeida. A move didn’t happen in the summer but the January transfer window would be the right time to sign the Portuguese.
Andre Almeida, 28, joined Benfica from Belenenses back in 2012 and has played close to 250 games across all competitions at Estádio Sport Lisboa e Benfica. He has been involved in the last couple of seasons, cementing his place in the team at right-back.
The 28-year-old contributed with two goals and 12 assists in 33 Primeira Liga games last term, a healthy return from a full-back.
The eight-cap Portugal international is an attacking right-back, who is also adept at playing on the left and in midfield.
This versatility could also see Almeida deputise at left-back for Arthur Masuaku and Ryan Cresswell when required to by Pellegrini. He uses his pace and dribbling ability well to gallop forward at every opportunity before setting up his team mates with incisive passes in the final third.
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The 28-year-old also makes crucial interceptions and tackles for his team, whilst quickly switching the play from defence to attack. His passing, crossing and 1v1 defending are good, making him a proper modern-day full-back.
Hence, it’s a no-brainer for West Ham to go all out to sign Andre Almeida in January. He would not only improve West Ham’s defence but also replace add real competition for Fredericks at right-back.